Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hey everybody

I have a quick update to what I've been using lately.  3 items:
1.  Oldie but a goody:  I have been using twitter to really stay in touch with my subject area professionals.  Following what really smart people are doing in there classrooms and preparing their students has really kept me engaged over the summer and I am sure will help me stay inspired through the school year.  Math people: @joboaler has some great tips!
2.  Evernote basically is a cloud based note organization tool.  Photos, reminders, notes, handwritten, and other apps that they make work seamlessly together.
3.  My personal fav....I don't know if it is new or just new to me and I have been blind to it in the past, but Google docs now has a basic,but usable equation editor!(so upon further Google investigation, I was just blind, it has been around a while....ahem more than 3 or 4 years ahem)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Exeter Conference

I just spent a week up at Exeter Academy in NH at the Anja S. Greer Conference on Science Math and Technology.  Exeter is famous for their discussion based classrooms, but the classes that I attended were much more in depth about problem based learning.   Providing rich contextual problems that students can discuss was the focus of how we as math educators bring our students to their full potential.

Besides a plug for the best PD I have attended, I was able to absorb some specific pieces of technology to help us with not only problem based learning, but giving teachers and students alike to make the math more approachable.

I previously used Twitter to communicate with students and share mathematics in a quick fashion.  I still will use it this way, but I also found very experienced teachers using Twitter to connect and share with other teachers.  This is an awesome solution to those who are struggling to collaborate with other teachers.

Desmos online graphing calculator is awesome.  Super visual.  Super easy.  Obviously it is a graphing calculator and we have tons of these, but there are many advantages to Desmos.  It is online.  It can be used offline.  It is FREE.  Students can save their work.  Students can share their work.  It is intuitive.  Desmos reacts to suggestions sometimes within 24 hours.

One final tool that teachers might use is Kaizena.  Kaizena is a tool that allows for teachers to record their own voice over googledocs that students have provided to their teacher.  Teachers simply highlight and record.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Education is a constantly changing occupation.  Thanks to some choices of my own, choices by my district, policies from the state, and two grants that I've been awarded (one from my technology department at Mason City School District and one form Exeter Academy in NH) this year is no different. Except it seems that the next year will be a first for more than the usual amount.

Here are several examples:  I will be integrating 15 Chromebooks and a new BYO device policy. Students will be integrating two new email addresses (one given by the school-Microsoft and one that will be a policy in my class -Google).  I will be attending two conferences over the summer to integrate the "Harkness Method" better than I have been over the past two years.  My school district will switch from desktop Microsoft Office to Office365 (in addition to temporarily changing from a desktop client of Outlook to a browser based webmail).  Our district will also be changing from a trimester schedule to a semester based one and at the high school we will be changing from a five bell to a seven bell schedule.   We will introducing Student Learning Objectives in our classrooms as a district initiative to assess our students use of vocabulary in each of our subjects.  And finally (at least from what I can recall at this point) Common Core will be in full swing this year followed up by the PARCC assessment.

I hope to use this blog to capture this year's many changes.